EAT Bulaga’s “Bawal ang Judgmental” February 21 episode was truly exceptional. For the first time, parents of children and adults on the Autism Spectrum joined the contest and presented to the audience the many challenges of raising their children born with autism. It may seem easy to get offended by having to show the whole world that your child has autism, but these parents, in fact, found pleasure in introducing their special ones to everyone through the said contest.
The reason why these parents and their children were featured in Eat Bulaga’s newest trending segment is because of the annual celebration of the National Intellectual Disability Week from February 14 to 20 as per Presidential Proclamation No. 1385 s. 1975 signed by President Ferdinand Marcos.
This year’s theme is “Karapatan at Pantay-Pantay na Pagkakataon Para sa Lahat.” True enough, through the stories of inspiration as shared by #Ausome parents on the show, it can be seen that people on the autism can achieve goals such as finishing high school and college, joining other fields of interest such as arts and sports, and most importantly, can become typical and functional members of the community.
A lot of netizens who posted comments on the social media page of the longest-running show said they lost it when they saw TV host Joey de Leon break down and could not hold back his tears as well. For parents of children with autism like me, our tears flowed down naturally. It felt like what we were feeling for the longest time is being put into words, and it felt surreal somehow. It was that point when I realized that what we are going through as we are blessed with our son Lance who has mild autism is not different at all from what they are also experiencing. Listening to these parents as they recount how they found out that their kids had autism to sharing how they found interventions and support groups to help them deal with the ordeal, I felt one with them.
Maybe this is what I truly needed to help me transition from the phase of early acceptance to total acquiescence of the fact that my son Lance will have to live a slightly different life compared to his brother. Maybe, it is high time for us to stop thinking about what other people will say or think about our son, but focus on what our son needs for him to become more functional and be independent as he grows older. Most importantly, we have to be at least thankful for the fact that our son is on the mild side and that he is high functioning, as I saw those that are extreme cases. That alone should make me feel blessed and relieved.
However, I always hope and pray that I get to live a long life to be always there for my Lance. That is the only fear that I have in my life, thinking about how he will be able to go on without us at his side. While we can see that he is improving his social skills, there are still some areas that need to be addressed such as his stims and repetitive behavior. I know that with a loving and nurturing atmosphere both at home and in school, he will continuously progress and achieve developmental milestones albeit at a later time.
After watching the uploaded segment of the show on the internet, I wept and wanted to hug Lance tightly while he was sleeping. In that silence, I uttered the prayer to God to help me continue being strong, both physically and emotionally, so that I can always be around for my son.